Tributes to broadcaster David Frost
Published 02/09/2013 | 00:00
Tributes have poured in for "peerless broadcaster" Sir David Frost after he died from a heart attack aged 74.
The veteran BBC interviewer died on Saturday night on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, where he was giving a speech.
Known for incisive interviews with the leading figures of his time - and perhaps most famously disgraced US president Richard Nixon, Sir David spent more than 50 years as a television star.
His family said in a statement: "Sir David Frost died of a heart attack last night aboard the Queen Elizabeth where he was giving a speech. His family is devastated and have asked for privacy during this difficult time. A family funeral will be held in the near future and details of a memorial service will be announced in due course."
David Cameron was quick to pay tribute and described Sir David as "an extraordinary man - with charm, wit, talent, intelligence and warmth in equal measure" who had "made a huge impact on television and politics".
"The Nixon interviews were among the great broadcast moments - but there were many other brilliant interviews," the Prime Minister said. "He could be - and certainly was with me - both a friend and a fearsome interviewer."
Actor and comedian Stephen Fry said he had spoken to Sir David only on Friday and he had "sounded so well" and was "excited about a house move, full of plans".
Former prime minister Tony Blair referred to Sir David as a "huge figure in broadcasting, a great professional and a good friend".
"He had an extraordinary ability to draw out the interviewee, knew exactly where the real story lay and how to get at it, and was also a thoroughly kind and good natured man," Mr Blair said. "Being interviewed by him was always a pleasure but also you knew that there would be multiple stories the next day arising from it."
Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell also paid homage, saying: "To be interviewed by David Frost was never a chore, even when trying to defend the indefensible. But his scrupulous and disarming politeness hid a mind like a vice. David Frost could do you over without you realising it until it was too late. He was a peerless broadcaster."